Is anybody else having trouble keeping track of all the hundreds of billions being doled out by the US government to prop up global financial markets and "avoid economic calamity" (quoting a NY Times headline this morning)?
The House yesterday rejected the so-called "bailout" plan that would have dumped $700 billion into financial markets. But at the same time, the feds are spreading billions of dollars around like Monopoly money.
From an article in today's NY Times:
"With money markets around the world seizing in fear, the Fed on Monday announced that it would provide an extra $150 billion through an emergency lending program for banks, and an additional $330 billion through so-called swap lines with foreign central banks to help money markets from Europe to Asia....
"That was on top of the $230 billion the Fed borrowed last week so it could finance its previous efforts to prop up the American International Group and other institutions. But these are only the latest in a long series of jaw-dropping departures from normal policy that the Fed has undertaken this year as it seeks to inject vast amounts of capital into the financial system. And they are unlikely to be the last."
I don't pretend to fully understand how all this works (or doesn't), try as I might, but it is certainly very very scary.
One thing that's much easier to understand is the lack of leadership on display in Washington. They played a game of chicken on the bailout bill. Nobody wanted to be caught holding the bag. Both "sides" wanted to be able to hold the the other responsible. Typical. And disgraceful.
Here's one other thing I don't get. How can McCain with a straight face blame Obama for the bailout plan being ditched by Congress, when McCain's party rejected it overwhelmingly. Even the eight members of the House representing McCain's home state of Arizona voted NO, including the state's four Republican congressmen. (The congressman from Alaska, also a Republican, voted no, too, I might add.) Way to deliver.
It's funny (using that word loosely) how the presidential candidates and all the political nonsense have so rapidly become largely irrelevant as we watch the train wreck that is Wall Street-Washington DC.